Spring cleaning? Donate your things to Furniture Bank and stop “waste” from going to landfills while turning someone’s house into a home…
Like ZooShare, part of Furniture Bank’s mission is to divert “waste” from landfills. Since 1998, Furniture Bank has saved over 320,000 tonnes of furniture from being thrown out. Items are given, at little or no cost, to individuals and families in need. So far, 62,000 people have been made to feel more at home.
A look at some of the quality items donated to Furniture Bank
The History of Furniture Bank
Furniture Bank began almost 20 years ago thanks to one woman and her car: Sister Anne Schenck was working at a refugee centre in Scarborough, when she realized that newcomers to Canada “were literally moving into apartments with nothing”. When the Refugee Centre closed in 1994, “I finally had some time to think about how I’d set up what became Furniture Bank,” says Schenck, adding “There was no business plan. I was just doing what I could do and I started talking about my dream.” As word spread, Torontonians who were downsizing or upgrading saw donating to the Furniture Bank as a “natural opportunity to help,” she says.1 With the help of numerous volunteers, countless hours of pro-bono work and financial donations, small and large, Sister Anne formally incorporated Furniture Bank as a charity in 1998.2
Furniture Bank isn’t simply a warehouse for donated chairs and tables–it is a resource to find the confidence to build a better life. 70+ agencies refer over 5,000 people every year to Furniture Bank. Clients are newcomers to Canada, people transitioning out of homelessness, mothers with children exiting abusive relationships and many others in need.
ZooShare Visits Furniture Bank
ZooShare recently visited Furniture Bank in Etobicoke to learn more about the process: “It was incredible, like walking into an IKEA showroom of quality furniture,” says our Communications Coordinator, Frances Darwin. To learn more, Frances sat down with Noah Kravitz, Community Manager and Fundraising Coordinator at Furniture Bank:
ZooShare sat down with Noah Kravitz, Community Manager and Fundraising Coordinator at Furniture Bank.
“Donations are not limited to furniture,” explains Kravitz. “We also accept artwork, pots and pans, carpets, TVs, computers, printers and small kitchen appliances.” Thinking of getting a new mattress? Even your old bed can be donated. Furniture Bank also works with Sleep Country as part of their Mattress Recycling Programme, receiving 20-25 beds every 2 weeks. Concerned about bed bugs? No need to be. Furniture Bank has a 99.98% prevention rate due to the extreme care of inspection of all donated items (before pick-up, during processing, after processing) and even bring in a special dog once a month to sniff out the little critters, just in case!
Furniture Bank also accepts beds, artwork, pots and pans, carpets, TVs, computers, printers and small kitchen appliances.
Keeping Money in the Bank
How does furniture bank make money? “As a charity, we are grateful for monetary donations, but we also recognized the need to be self-sustainable,” explains Kravitz. For this reason, Furniture Bank launched its Social Enterprise delivery service 10 years ago “which has been the bread and butter since then,” he explains. How does it work? “There is a fee to pick-up your donation, which starts at a competitive
$99 $150*.” And why would you choose Furniture Bank over other “junk-haulers”? “Because, as a registered charity, Furniture Bank can issue a “donation-in-kind” tax receipt for the value of the donated furniture. When you donate your furniture, you change a life and reduce you tax bill at the same time!
Recycling Materials into Dollars
In addition to donations and revenues from their pick-up service, Furniture Bank is also able to recycle unsuitable furniture and e-waste to earn additional dollars to help their mission. “Where items aren’t in good enough condition to make it into our showroom, we can recycle the raw materials,” says Kravitz. According to the Furniture Bank blog, over 4500 kgs of cloth and fabrics, 2000 kgs of electronics and 50,000 kgs of metal last year.3
By training and employing youth and newcomers to Canada through a skills training and employment programme, Kravitz says, “Furniture Bank offers employment to individuals facing barriers in our warehouse, call centre, in furniture repair, upholstery and woodworking.” In the near future their employees’ skills will enable Furniture Bank to provide an additional revenue generating arm: a furniture repair service. Are you a carpenter, cabinetmaker, upholsterer or designer? Click here to learn more about how you can help.
$99 $150* furniture pick-ip!
This month, let ZooShare and Furniture Bank help you with your Spring Cleaning. You could win a Furniture Bank pick-up worth
$99 $150* when you enter our monthly contest. (Please note: There may be additional charges based on the volume of donated goods and the location of the pickup.) To learn more about Furniture Bank’s pickup service, click here.
1. Interview with Sister Anne Schenck by Cam Gordon: http://www.furniturebank.org/discover-sister-anne-started-furniture-bank/
*pricing updated as of Feb/2021